Now I know what you’re thinking, why in the world is there a page on here dedicated to making websites?
The answer is simple, I got tired of seeing people use awful CMS solutions like WordPress where they overpay for a website that runs as fast as mud through a sifter and have enough security holes in them that there exists a database for keeping track of them all. There’s a lot of reasons you should have a site for not only yourself but your projects as well and I’m sure everyone reading this is smart enough to draw their own conclusions on why that is.
By the end of this page I hope that you will be convinced that not only is making websites easy but also fun!
Why you should use a static site generator
The folks over at CloudCannon put together a really well done video and article on what exactly Jekyll is and what it means to be a static site generator along with why you should use it over WordPress.
So those points again:
- Less Complex
- Version Control
Something they don’t touch on that I feel is worth bringing up is the cost. If you want to be able to modify the CSS files of your WordPress.com site you need to at least be signed up for their $8.25 a month “Premium” and then if you want to be able to upload your own custom theme, use Google Analytics, install plugins, and on top of all that remove their branding from your site you need to pay them $25 a month… That is highway robbery if you ask me.
If you setup your site using Jekyll you can do all of the above for free. Sure it’s nice to include a mention somewhere on your site that you are using Jekyll but you don’t have to if you really don’t want to. If you want to go off and make your own amazing custom theme or plugins, go for it! On top of that the cost of running a site ranges from $0 to $5 and all the paid tier does is get you off GitLab or GitHubs servers for if you want to host it yourself so you can have more control.
What you need to know
Look I would be lying to you if I said this was going to require no learning. There will be learning but it won’t be hard and you will come out of it with some really valuable skills.
The things you will have to know:
See that’s two things and you may have already used them in the past. HTML is really easy to learn and a ton of tutorials exist for it. Git can be a bit tricky when you first get started with it and if using a command prompt/terminal is not your thing there exists a number of well made GUI’s for it.
The things you might want to know:
Where to Learn
I am working on my own set of tutorials but until they are finished and are of a quality I find satisfactory I suggest the following:
- Learn HTML/CSS
- Learn Git
- Go through Codecademy’s Jekyll tutorial
- Learn how to install Jekyll on either Windows, Mac, or Linux
- Learn the file structure of Jekyll
- Learn how to run Jekyll
- Learn what Liquid is
- Learn how blogging/posts work
- Poke around some templates others have made and try to setup your own site based on one
This looks like a lot of learning and it is but if you set aside a weekend or work on it for an hour each night you can get through it fairly fast.